Philadelphia DA May Appeal Commutation of Cop Killer’s Death Sentence
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By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia district attorney’s office says it is considering appealing a judge’s order that overturned the death sentence for the man convicted of shooting Philadelphia police officer Danny Boyle to death in 1991.
Judge Teresa Sarmina cited a Constitutional restriction, based on a US Supreme Court ruling in 2002, against executing people defined as “intellectually disabled.”
First assistant DA Edward McCann says the victim’s family and the DA’s office take issue with the judge’s opinion on convicted killer Edward Bracey’s mental capacity.
“I have the same question about how a jury’s verdict, having been ratified by multiple layers of review, can be undone 22 years after it was rendered on a claim that is frankly inconsistent with the evidence,” McCann said today.
He notes that during a 1998 post-conviction hearing, three defense experts testified that Bracey was not mentally challenged.
Judge Sarmina vacated Bracey’s death sentence but did not order a new trial or resentencing, so Bracey’s sentence is now life without parole.
District attorney Seth Williams, who is out of town, put out a statement today saying he is “disappointed” with the ruling, which he calls “perplexing.”
If the DA appeals, it would be to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.